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How do you go about learning a new song?

GUEST,Texas Guest 17 Sep 07 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 Sep 07 - 09:20 PM
kendall 17 Sep 07 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 Sep 07 - 09:30 PM
Leadfingers 17 Sep 07 - 09:32 PM
Ron Davies 17 Sep 07 - 09:51 PM
Beer 17 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM
Ron Davies 17 Sep 07 - 09:56 PM
Liz the Squeak 17 Sep 07 - 10:47 PM
Deckman 17 Sep 07 - 10:52 PM
MystMoonstruck 18 Sep 07 - 01:26 AM
Jim Lad 18 Sep 07 - 02:59 AM
GRex 18 Sep 07 - 03:16 AM
ossonflags 18 Sep 07 - 04:00 AM
Eye Lander 18 Sep 07 - 05:03 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 18 Sep 07 - 05:28 AM
Marje 18 Sep 07 - 08:53 AM
Waddon Pete 18 Sep 07 - 09:07 AM
kendall 18 Sep 07 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Sep 07 - 10:08 AM
Mrrzy 18 Sep 07 - 10:18 AM
Mrrzy 18 Sep 07 - 10:24 AM
Bee 18 Sep 07 - 11:24 AM
kendall 18 Sep 07 - 12:33 PM
synbyn 18 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM
Rumncoke 18 Sep 07 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 18 Sep 07 - 02:06 PM
Ebbie 18 Sep 07 - 03:12 PM
the button 18 Sep 07 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 18 Sep 07 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 04:11 PM
the button 18 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM
kendall 18 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Russ 18 Sep 07 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 05:30 PM
Tootler 18 Sep 07 - 06:24 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Sep 07 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,mg 18 Sep 07 - 07:55 PM
Beer 18 Sep 07 - 08:00 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM
Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 08:27 PM
Marje 19 Sep 07 - 07:20 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Sep 07 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 19 Sep 07 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 19 Sep 07 - 09:36 AM
ossonflags 19 Sep 07 - 10:57 AM
stallion 19 Sep 07 - 11:03 AM
Rumncoke 19 Sep 07 - 02:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Sep 07 - 05:23 PM
dick greenhaus 19 Sep 07 - 05:45 PM
Barry Finn 19 Sep 07 - 06:41 PM
Tootler 19 Sep 07 - 07:15 PM
kendall 19 Sep 07 - 07:44 PM
dick greenhaus 19 Sep 07 - 07:57 PM
Janie 19 Sep 07 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,Jaze 19 Sep 07 - 08:59 PM
Beer 20 Sep 07 - 12:07 AM
Seamus Kennedy 20 Sep 07 - 12:42 AM
Barry Finn 20 Sep 07 - 12:51 AM
GUEST,Texas Guest 20 Sep 07 - 12:52 AM
MMario 20 Sep 07 - 08:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Sep 07 - 09:11 AM
MMario 20 Sep 07 - 09:45 AM
Cluin 20 Sep 07 - 10:04 AM
Snuffy 20 Sep 07 - 01:05 PM
Fidjit 20 Sep 07 - 01:47 PM
GUEST 20 Sep 07 - 03:06 PM
Genie 20 Sep 07 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,strad 20 Sep 07 - 03:58 PM
Sir Roger de Beverley 21 Sep 07 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,JTT 21 Sep 07 - 08:30 AM
Bert 21 Sep 07 - 02:36 PM
ossonflags 24 Sep 07 - 10:17 PM
Ebbie 25 Sep 07 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,Fantum 25 Sep 07 - 08:34 AM
Big Mick 25 Sep 07 - 08:47 AM
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Subject: Do you learn new songs as written, or,...?
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:10 PM

Just a bit of curiosity here. When you sit down to learn a song that
was written or recorded by someone else - how do you go about it?
Do you learn the song and then perform it virtually note-for-note?
Do you get it down "pretty close" to the original but leave a little room for your own interpretation; or, do you just learn the words, figure out the chords and get the "gist" of the melody - allowing for
a lot of interpretation on your part? Or, maybe you take another
approach all together - so, how do you do what you do when you do what you do for us? Cheers.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:20 PM

WHOLE

Part

WHOLE

Listern and practice the whole. Break down into two to four measures. Practice until each grouping of measures is PERFECT......piece by piece combine back into the entire piece.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:22 PM

I always write the words down long hand, then sing the first verse until it prints itself on my memory. Then, learn another and another until they are all in there.
I don't believe in making a lot of changes, but I have to do it my way. Utah Phillips and Eric Bogle like what I did with their songs, so I guess my method is ok.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:30 PM

I have known a couple of others (BRILLANT Minds) that are "Kinesthetic Learners"

The movement of the writing process works for them (not me)

Kendal has a valid point - for maximum efficancy you need to understand YOUR particular learning style.

Reflect, back .... what has worked for you in the past? GROUPS? COLORS? MOVEMENT? MIMIC of SOUND? TOUCH?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:32 PM

Agreed with what Kendall says ! Learn the song - Write it out , sort out the chord run , and work om it til it DOESNT sound like who ever you got it from !! When it sounds like YOU , THEN you can sing it in Public .


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:51 PM

I find that even if you listen to a particular version quite a bit and think you're doing it that way, once you start doing it yourself you're bound to change a few words, possibly the tune somewhat also. So you really don't have to worry about doing a slavish copy of your original. This is probably more true of unaccompanied songs--but even your chords may be different. Of course I don't see the point to even looking a chord charts--you should change chords when you think the song needs it--when it sounds right to you.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Beer
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM

I am known for my voice (that is was.). I play rhythm guitar and can't read a note. I can pretty much hear a song once, pick up the guitar and play and hum the melody. Once the melody is in my head i have it. Next is to find the words. thanks to the Internet most can be found fairly quickly.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:56 PM

"looking at chord charts"


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 10:47 PM

I find listening to it over and over helps stick the tune in my memory. I'm afraid there's very little else I can do to keep the words in there as well which is why I usually have my little black book with me. If I want to perform the song, I have to "listen" to it in my head and quietly hum over the tune before I do it.

If it's one that I don't have a recording for, if I'm learning it from a book then I have to have the dots in front of me and just sing it over and over til it's in my head.

Even then, it's touch and go.

LTS


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 10:52 PM

I start ... AND THIS IS IMPORTANT ... at the liquor store! Bob


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: MystMoonstruck
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 01:26 AM

Most music I learn by listening to the melody enough times that I can hum it. If I can hum it unerringly, trying to match the original as closely as my ears allow, I play it on my bowed psaltery. Often, I can play it through the first time.

Hey! Isn't that the Professor Harold Hill Method?! La de da de da de da~da de da~da de da...

When I'm learning from a book, I stumble through it a lot more~unless I suddenly realize, "I know this song!" Then, I play what I hear in my head. The next time through, I see if my memory matches the book's notes. Sometimes, the version in the book doesn't please me as much as the version I've heard. Then, I go with playing by ear. If I like both versions, I learn both of them.

It's much easier for me to play by ear than to battle with a book, especially when I have to turn a page in the midst of things.

Later, when I'm playing in public, I usually stick with what I learned although I can add some flourishes when necessary. For example, somewhere I picked up a bit of melody to add between playing Coventry Carol, meaning: I play it through, play the "bridge", then play it through again, ending on a slightly different note. I try not to stray from how I learned a piece.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 02:59 AM

Much the same as Kendall. I write it out by hand. Stop listening to the other versions. Play it through until I make a mistake & start again.
By the time I can play it three times without forgetting any words, I've started working on the phrasing and and developing my own interpretation. Then, if I still like it, I'll use it.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GRex
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:16 AM

Unlike Beer, it takes me some time to get a tune firmly fixed in my head. Once I'm confident with tune, I memorize one verse at a time, that is I keep repeating one verse until it is well planted in my mind before memorising the next. Seem to have no problem remembering choruses. This method has worked for me for several years.
            GRex


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: ossonflags
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:00 AM

How refreshing to see a thread about how to actually LEARN to sing and play a song,as apposed to reading it from a book or a piece of paper

Yhis now seems to be the norm for people to carry around lever arch files and sheaves of paper .........I even saw some one with one of those hand held computor things the other day.

If the song is good enough to sing it is good enough to learn.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Eye Lander
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 05:03 AM

Ah, how I wish I were able to retain words in my head. I can sing a chorus along with the best, but if someone were to ask me to lead a chorus..... I wouldn't remember half of it.

Jillie


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 05:28 AM

Like Mick(ossonflags)I am blessed with a good memory and rarely forget the words of any song. However, how I learn them varies enormously:

With some I can hear them for the first time and immediately picture the chords and the arrangement in my head. With others I can buy the song book and puzzle over it for years and never get the song to my satisfaction.

What they all have in common for me, though, is that I have to perform the song in public to "fix" it in my head. If I don't play it to an audience it will slip away and I'll need to learn it again. If I do play it, once is enough and I can then recall it even after (in one case) a gap of 30+ years.

Roger


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Marje
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:53 AM

As often, there's a bit of transatlantic confusion here: in the US, "song" is used more loosely to cover songs with words and also (sometimes) tunes with no words. In the UK, a "song" always has words; otherwise it's a tune.

Also, it seems from the comments above, as elsewhere, that US singers are more likely to be playing a guitar, and to regard this as the important part of "the song"; in the UK, some singers have this idea, while others regard "the song" as what is sung (words and melody), while the accompaniment, if there is one at all, is - well, just an accompaniment.

I find that it helps me to learn the melody first. I do this also when I'm being invited to join in a chorus that's new to me - I have to hum the melody first and get that in my head. Then, once I've got that sorted, I'll learn the words. When learning a song in private, I'll often have the words written out, and will maybe prop them up somewhere in the kitchen, or take them out with me in the car (only as a passenger!) so that I can go through them until I think I know them. I'll look out for things to help me remember - sequences of events, repetition, things that are almost repeated but not quite, etc.

If I've learned it from a recording, I'll stop listening to the recording once I've learned the tune and got the words down. I like to make the song my own from that point on. But I'll try to pay heed to whatever it was that attracted me to the recording in the first place.

Then (my personal memory trick) I get a little card, the size of a credit card, and write down the title, and the key that suits me best for that song. On the back of the card I write a few prompts to help me through - often the first words of each verse, plus any tricky parts or things like personal and place names that I may find difficult to remember. Once I've done this, I can usually dispense with the wordsheet and do any "revision" I need from the card.

Only then will I think about accompaniment. I often sing unaccompanied, but even when using an instrument, I think the song should be complete and familiar and as good as it can be before anything is added to it. If it doesn't sound much good without an accompaniment, you have to consider the possibility that either the song itself or the performance is not good enough.

Marje


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 09:07 AM

Hello,

A good idea for a thread! Certainly made me think. I guess I'm with Kendall on this. Writing the words out in longhand, (preferably with a fountain pen), helps fix the words for me too. You can't beat writing with a fountain pen for really interacting with the words on the page.

I find it interesting that, although I might like a song and want to sing it, if it is not the song for me...it won't stay in my head!

Other songs just stick like glue. Sometimes you wish it were possible to forget them! (Could be another thread here!)

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 09:24 AM

I knew a man who was a pro entertainer, and he never took the stage without his music stand and big note book.He sang the same dozen or so songs for 50 years and never learned any of them. He was an object of humor for that quirk.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 10:08 AM

1.Sing along with the recording or sheet music for a while. Concentrate on the plot and the rhymes.

2. Sing it while working around the house or driving in a safe environment, nailing the hard parts.

3. Folk process as needed over time.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 10:18 AM

I'm a singer, not a player, Mr. Spock.
The way I learn a new song is to listen to it over and over and try to sing along, and when I feel I have the "story" down, I go and try to write down all the lyrics from beginning to end. If I'm missing any chunks I'll usually come here to the 'Cat to find what I'm not hearing... then I listen to it some more and sing along, then try to write down all the lyrics *from beginning to end* again.
It takes a lot longer, I find, if I do the "whole part whole" suggested above - that is, if I just fill in the missing chunks, and then try to sing the whole song. Every time I fill in a chunk, I go back to the beginning.
Also, I "get" songs by the do-re-mi method of knowing the intervals, so I can sing it when alone in a more comfortable key than when I sing along with the original. In fact, I am reliably informed that if I then sing the song three times in a row, each renditions may be in a different key, but they are all "right" in the sense that it IS the tune. I apparently can't tell a key from a hole in a door, hee hee.
I also have a tendency to sing in the original singer's *accent* - no matter what it is - and I can learn songs in languages I don't speak by using this method with phonetic spelling. Mom has found it very funny because I know songs in Dalmatian but where I've split the words isn't what the words are (like singing "svep ti chitze" when it was "sve ptichitze) - apparently what comes out is kinda like Ladle Rat Rotten Hut - but I *can* sing along with the record.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 10:24 AM

Oh, yeah, if I find something that rhymes or scans better, I'll "improve" (in one verse in one folk song I learned from Cynthia Gooding, she uses "at sea" for all three rhymes, and I changed one to "said she" (it worked for the story) to avoid that double repetition.
Also, I find myself more and more editing for my version of PCness - the P is for Personal, not Political - and using, say, "folks" instead of "men" when talking about people, and "they" instead of "he" when gender is unknown (and coordinating the verbs as appropriate) if it doesn't upset the rhyme.
I also enjoy rewriting religious songs whose tunes and messages I like to remove all the god nonsense and just sing about the beautiful message with the beautiful tune. I especially like, and have posted here somewhere, my version of Peter, Paul and Mary's version of The Magi.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Bee
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 11:24 AM

I've been teaching myself to play guitar and sing for less than two years - the guitar is a slow process, but I've got a lot of chords, and I'll learn a new one if the song needs it.

So - to learn a song, I have a variety of approaches. Often I'm learning to play songs I haven't heard in 30 or 40 years, but I have a good memory for tunes (at least I think I do). I find the lyrics and write them out longhand. If the chord structure is fairly simple, I work it out myself, if not, I'll look online and occasionally beg for help here. Then I learn it all at once, playing the chords and reading the lyrics as I sing until I can look away from the page and sing without. A dozen times is usually enough to fix up to six verses in my memory.

If I'm learning a song I've gotten to like recently, and have on CD, I'll play the song and sing along, transcribe the words, try to figure out chords, and then proceed as before. If a song has a simple tune, I can often remember it with just two or three 'listens'. I managed to learn The Wild Goose after hearing it four times, but had to get help here with the chords, and my version varies quite a bit from the Travellers' version I actually heard - hey, there's just one of me!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 12:33 PM

I will change a word or two if the ones I am hearing are not correct. The folk process allows a lot of leeway in this area, but I can't sing lyrics that make no sense.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: synbyn
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM

Tom & Barbara Brown do a festival spot called 'Making The Song Your Own'- I'll leave them to explain how! For myself, I lose the instruments and learn the tune and words simulataneously by singing them out loud until they're pretty well fixed, then try to fit the guitar or mandolin around them. Otherwise you're stuck with the thrum or technique of the instrument rather than the voice coming through as imho it should if a song's words are truly the focus...


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 01:51 PM

Yes - thats how I do it too.

If from a recording, I sing along with that for several repetitions, then I sing it, unacompanied, until it starts to sound like one of my songs, then I take my guitar,(wind instrument) recorder or keyboard and play along to how I am singing it. I use a cassette tape to record my efforts - I supose one day I might have to learn to use some other medium, but the cassette is so convenient.

I find that if I learn the way of playing from the original recording it stays like that, but by leaving a gap and working out my own way of playing the tune then it is much less like the way I first heard it.

I do need to have a book these days - I found that my memory was failing about ten years ago.

Now I find that I should have written them larger.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 02:06 PM

How I wish I could "learn" a new song. I soon pick up the tune and sort the chords but can I remember the words? I remember the songs I learnt in the '60s, but the one I learnt last week. Forget it!
Well actually, I have.
So all you who criticise people who read the words spare a thought for the over 60s. (Make that a kind thought)
Warwick


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:12 PM

As has been mentioned before, there appears to be a difference in learning/remembering words when one wrote them oneself. I think that remembering someone else's words is much easier. I have no idea why that is, although I suspect that being dispassionate and objective rather than possibly being anxious and defensive about them helps.

It may well be that the professional songwriter - someone who cranks them out by the hour (I know a very good musician who says that she writes "probably an average of three songs a day", although she doesn't keep all of them)- is detached enough to treat the songs as though they were written by someone else.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: the button
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:40 PM

I listen to it so much that I find myself singing it to myself on the way to work, and at inopportune moments. In fact, "Do I find myself singing this one to myself on the way to work, and at inopportune moments?" is a key question for me in terms of whether I add a song to my repertoire. To be honest, I never really set out to "learn a song" -- it's the ones that get under my skin that I'm interested in.

I'd echo what Rumncoke says about accompaniment though -- I'd want to be able to sing it unaccompanied before I decided whether to pick up my guitar or concertina.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:46 PM

This is a long one, but then, you did ask. . . .

I take a couple of slightly different approaches, depending on the source of the song. If I'm learning it from a record (or tape or CD, etc.), I listen to it several times, humming or singing along with it. While I'm doing this, I'm writing down the words. I used to do it longhand, but now I generally type them out on my laptop (e.g., listening to the CD in the CD drive while typing and playing it several times if necessary, which it usually is). By the time I've got the words all typed, the tune is usually fairly well established in my ear.

I'll try singing the song, reading the words off the screen. I may print off a copy of the words and stick it into a shirt pocket, so that, as I wander about singing the song (at least in my head), if I get stuck, I can pull it out and refresh my memory.
As I'm memorizing the words and tune, I'll pick up the guitar and play through the melody, to determine the highest and lowest notes in the song, and that gives me a clue as to what key would work best for my voice. As I do this, chords tend to suggest themselves, but I save that till later. I put the guitar aside for now.

If I'm learning a song from a song book, I play through the melody on the guitar (I can sight-read for voice, but I'm lousy at it, and the first time through is usually a laborious process—easier for me to pick it out on the guitar). Reading the words and picking out the melody on the guitar, I try singing through the song until I've got the tune in my ear. By this time, I've undoubtedly learned that the tune, as written, is too high for my voice (I'm a bass-baritone, and most song books put songs in a sort of average or mid-range key. Too high for me). Here again, I check the highest and lowest notes written, and crank them down to a range that's more compatible. But still, I don't work out the chords and the rest of the accompaniment yet. Once again, I set the guitar aside. [There is a good reason for this.] Then I print off a copy of the words to carry around with me, as above (crib sheet).

Then, whether from a recording or a song book, I sing the song a lot—without accompaniment—without the guitar, until I have it down pat. I carry a Kratt "Master Key" chromatic pitch pipe (a little black and chrome "circular harmonica") in my pocket along with the words, and I check from time to time to see just where I am as I practice the song. Still, no guitar.

I study the song to make sure that I know what the heck it's all about. This seems obvious, but I've noticed that a lot of singers do the same thing I used to do when I first started out:   learn a song without really knowing what it was all about and sing it by rote. Then I took some singing lessons from a teacher who, when I sang songs for him that I was learning, would stop me and say, 'Okay, what does that line mean?" He knew perfectly well, but he wanted to make sure that I knew what the blazes I was singing about, and not just singing "words." Good point! Then, I work out phrasing and breathing points to try to bring out the meaning of the words. It's at this point that I may "folk process" a bit. Without changing the sense of a line, I may change a word or two, or the order or words, if a line sings clumsily. I try not to change the tune any, and almost never do, unless an interval is just bloody awkward. In that case, I'll try to pick a note that harmonizes with the "original" note. If well chosen, most people won't even notice, and if I'm singing with someone who's singing the "right" tune, at least we won't "clank." This sort of thing, I was told by an English professor who taught a course I took in "The Popular Ballad," is permissible if done judiciously and with understanding:   "A minstrel's prerogative."

When memorizing a song, I will often sing through the song silently, in my head, as I'm going to sleep. Experience tells me that this works well to speed the process. If you've listened to the song a lot, it's in there, even if you can't get at it all at once. Let your subconscious work on it some.

Once I've got the song down solidly, I sing it without accompany for several days or a week or two. Then I pick up the guitar. By now, my voice has pretty well established what key I should sing the song in.

This is important. Some keys on the guitar, particularly those using first-position open-string chords, are fairly easy to play in. C, G, D, A, and E, along with Am, Em, and sometimes Dm, depending. Do not let the ease or the difficulty of playing in a particular key induce you or force you to sing in a key that's not optimum for your voice. If you find that you've been singing the song (unaccompanied) in the key of B (not easy to play on the guitar), you may be perfectly comfortable upping it a half-step to C. Or in F, you might get away with dropping it a half-step to E. But especially in minor keys, or in major keys where you want to use some of the relative minor chords, the guitar can be pretty limited.

Or you may find that you're singing it in D or E, but you can get a much better accompaniment (along with a couple of relative minor chords thrown in) in the key of C.

Use a capo.

The accompaniment must be in the service of, and subservient to, the song. Not the other way around.

One of the advantages of all that practice singing without accompaniment is that if you want to sing somewhere and you don't have an instrument available, you're still in good shape, because you're not dependent on the instrument. And singing unaccompanied is very "traditional." (Some singers come all unglued if they don't have a guitar to hide behind.)

By the way, one of the advantages of typing out the words on the computer is that when you've worked out what key you're going to do the song in and know the chords, you can pull up the words, double-space the first verse and chorus, and type the chords in over the words where the changes occur. Then, format the song-sheet nicely, add the title at the top in a larger font and boldface [I usually type something like "(traditional – Child #20)" in italics under the title], then at the bottom (or on another page for the back of the sheet), I add notes about where I learned the song and some background about the song itself. Save it to disk, of course. Then print it out on a good piece of 24 lb. bond paper, punch it with a three-hole punch, and put it into a three-ring binder.

Bingo!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:54 PM

I must take issue with Don Firth. It is best stored in FOUR RING BINDER


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:11 PM

Quite probably so. Belt and suspenders.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: the button
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM

If you're posting from the US, we call them "braces" in the UK. If you're posting from the UK, whatever floats your boat. ;-)


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM

I know a certain bluegrass/folkie who refers to people who lug notebooks around as "Those fucking book people".


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:57 PM

I never learn tunes from paper.
I do learn words from paper.

I learn tunes by listening to them until I can whistle or sing them.
Then I figure out how to play the tune on the instrument of choice.

Extremely inefficient, but I'm in no hurry.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 05:30 PM

Ah, yes, button, I was using the word in the American sense. But the UK meaning of "suspenders" does conjure up quite a pleasant visual. . . .

If one knows several hundred songs and there are ones you haven't sung for some years, it's nice to be able to grab the notebook and refresh your memory. As to lugging notebooks around, mine are strictly for reference and they stay at home.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 06:24 PM

How refreshing to see a thread about how to actually LEARN to sing and play a song,as apposed to reading it from a book or a piece of paper

Yhis now seems to be the norm for people to carry around lever arch files and sheaves of paper .........I even saw some one with one of those hand held computor things the other day.

If the song is good enough to sing it is good enough to learn.


Ah! the counsel of perfection from one whose memory never lets him down.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 06:59 PM

I'm with Kendall - writing or typing out the verses and learning a verse at a time, going back to the beginning and singing through the verses I've learned till I get to the last verse. Highlighting the first words of the verses can help.

Recently, when I'm actually at the folk club and thinking of singing a song I've not sung for a while so I'm not sure about, I've found myself writing the words out to check whether I still remember them....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 07:55 PM

Here..follow my lead. let someone else sing it and then just go hum hum hum la la la heave away my jolly lads and bridle up the snow white steed etc...try to look intelligent whilst doing this. mg


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Beer
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:00 PM

lol.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM

Tootler - it's not a counsel of perfection to suggest that songs be learned rather than read. Even if you have the words handy in case you forget them.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:27 PM

Yeah, Mary, I do that a lot sometimes!

(Don't tell anybody!)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Marje
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 07:20 AM

I agree with Kitty about learning words - of course we all forget them sometimes (hence my tip about key words on cards, above) but using a prompt is a world away from not learning them at all. I hate it when a singer is singing every word off the page as if he/she has never seen it before (including the chorus which the rest of us are expected to get right!)- it just comes between the singer and the listener, and spoils the song for me. Glancing at a prompt sheet or card between verses or for the odd forgotten line is quite different from not bothering to try to learn it in the first place.
And so what if you're over 60? Learning new stuff is good for the old grey matter - it's far too young to give up and decide you can't learn anything new.

Marje


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 08:17 AM

Put them on my iPod, and listen in the car - I have a long commute to work. Once I know them, I sing them in the car without the iPod, and that's when they stop sounding like the original singer's arrangement and start sounding like me.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 08:34 AM

Warwick - you're just waiting for me to bite, aren't you? So I will - I'm the same age as you and I have absolutely no problem with learning the words of new songs, even 'long' ones. Just try harder old friend......It'll come with practice!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 09:36 AM

Well Terry, I knew you could not resist my bait. Of course you know I am a lazy old git but every one else thinks I'm a poor old man trying his best.
I promise to practice more and I'll be doing the ones I remember at the Wessex Acoustic tonight
Enjoy the USofA


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: ossonflags
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 10:57 AM

A good point "Guest" Warwick S, but I am sixty two, perform with my band and solo on a regular basis and still manage to learn new songs without "safety nets". I also managed to win the Fred Jordan memorial trophy for unaccompanied singers at Saltburn festival this year.....................also gave up smoking on my sixty first birthday after being addicted to the weed for over fifty years.......so I guess if you want to do something badly enough you stick on in there.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: stallion
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 11:03 AM

I don't like getting songs from a cd, I get Martin and Ron to do it, better Martin cos he sight reads for voice, that way I only get their version. When I do learn a song it is because the melody has caught my imagination and I find myself humming it usually there are "mistakes" which I leave in, next, pitch the key for power, tone and ornamentation. The difficult bit, learning the words, just sing it over and over again, funny though, the way I learn songs is that one line cue's the next and if the line goes the song goes, must be a memory thing I am not really conscious of it. When the three of us are learning a new song who ever leads has usually a firm grasp on it and we move the key a semi tone at a time til we find the key that the harmonies work the best, a couple of times I get pushed out of my comfort zone but it is for the greater good. Maybe someone can explain but the less familiar I am with a melody the easier i find the harmony maybe it is an imprinted memory thing!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 02:55 PM

I did get some pills that were suposed to help with my memory - but if I remember I should take them, I then have to find where I put them.

I can sing Tam lin right through - should I ever need to.

Once in a while I check to make sure it is still there, but something with three verses? No chance.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 05:23 PM

"can sing Tam lin right through - should I ever need to"
WLTM
"lady with beard and open minded approach to sex who knows The Dowie Dens of Yarrow without recourse to notebook"


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 05:45 PM

Slowly and painfully. See thread on the Indignities of Aging


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 06:41 PM

I'm not quite 60 but I'm nearing it & "still manage to learn new songs without "safety nets"' too. And that's with a type memory where I needed to tattoo my name on my arm to remember it as a kid.

I take much the same approch as Kendall & Don, except they play instruments & I don't.

I do write it the words out in long hand while listening to the tune & write it out & then learn it 1 verse at a time & at this point I try & learn it almost exactly as I hear it with maybe a little bit of wiggle room. I'll then print it onto the computer (reinforcing what the writting did) so I have a perment copy & can print it out to take with me. The car & the shower is my best practice rooms. Don mentioned about knowing about the lines in the song, I whole heartedly agree 100%. I'm learning a new song "Venezuela to Trinidad", there was a line in it that was confusing at 1st & I had to stop & figure it out before I went further because I knew it would be difficult to remember if I didn't. It goes as follows:

"For most tankers it's long at sea short time in port
But we've tied up long an' our sea time is short"

without knowing what was meant at 1st I would have had to use & rely on 'rote memory'. Now I'll have that line imprinted correctly. Most songs that I have "imprinted" I may not sing for a long while & when I try on the spot to sing them they may not be all there but if I try to work them out they'll most often come back within anywhere from an hour or less to a couple days, unless I have access to a copy of them. Some songs just come back the 1st time no matter what. There are songs that, knowing my style of singing, I'll learn & then let lay for awhile & come back to them. This makes it easier for me to start to adapt them (as opposed to changing them) to my style, espically if there's quite a bit of ornamentation or odd phrasings or floating between majors & minors. Another mention of knowing the lines is knowing the story. I will learn the story (if there is a story) of/behind the "whole" song as best as possible even if it's not part of the song itself so I have a better understanding of the backround or the longer version even though I may be singing a much shorter song. I'm relearning "Robin Hood's Death" (a little diferently from when I 1st learned it) I'm not sing 54 verses, only 12 but knowing the story, it's backround, how it progresses helps me to visualize the song as I move or sing through it. "Seeing the song" helps me to remember it too, helps me to keep the verses in proper order & keeps the song in a place that's makes it easier for long term recall & not just the words either but the whole of the song, the tune, the phrasing, etc, it also helps me to have a feel for the song as well as a feelin of 'living the song'. I believe that making the song one's own lends a great deal to keeping it. BTW once having a song down I don't think I can make it really my own until I've "OUTED" it a few time first & then continued to work on it it untill I finially feel 'right' with it. There's nothing better for keeping a song than to sing it often (not to often at the same place though). I used to belong to a singers club & still go to as many singing sessions as possible which was/is great for recalling old forgotten songs, it would make me think of songs before hand or remind me of songs while there that I'd think about later and another thing about attending clubs & sessions is that I'll try not to sing the same song (unless asked) again & again for some time unless trying to recommit an old forgotten one or a new one & even then keeping it to a min. Repeating one self isn't a pleasure to others unless it's knew to eveyone else, don't tire folks with a song even/unless?? if its a great one for every one else to sing along with (only if it's a great one to sing along with???). At least keep in mind when singing the same song over & over again, be aware that it might begin to bore people.

As far as the songs I write I believe like Ebbie they are harder for me to remember, I don't know why either. Those I'll bring out with me & have to try out at a session or 'out' in public sometimes with the words in front of me (it's usually the only time I'll have the words in front of me for a back up or safty net) & only if I know it's an exceptable thing to do with the crowd I'm doing it with.

IMHO
It doesn't matter about your age or how bad your memory is (mine is bad even medically bad from the meds I take) or how many songs you know or want to learn, I think it's more on knowing how to learn them in the best way for you is key to learning them & in keeping them. If you rely on having words in front of you or you just commit the song to just memory the song will never become a part of you, you will never become part of the song & it'll always be hard to sing the song & possibly for others to hear the song more than once or twice.

Barry


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 07:15 PM

Kitty and Marj,

I actually agree that one should try and learn the words of a song if at all possible. It was the tone adopted by the poster that irritated me. It came over, to me at least, as dogmatic in tone and that's what prompted my response.

Also I know a number of people who are good singers, but don't seem to have the confidence to sing without having the words in front of them and I would rather they did that than not sing as I enjoy listening to them.

I keep my words in one those "hand held computer things" and very useful it is too. I use to review the words of a song I am going to sing when it is my turn and to keep a list of songs. I have used it as a prompt, but only occasionally. I also use it at home for learning words, though more recently I have taken to putting together a compilation of songs I want to learn on a CD and play them in the car. Once I have more or less got the words sorted by listening, then I play the song through on my PC and write the words down.

I am 62 and have only been singing for about a year. I was one of those people who was told he "couldn't sing" until I went on a weekend workshop for the vocally challenged and found actually I could, it was really about finding your range. As a result I have been playing catch up over the last year and have learnt a lot of songs. A small number have really sunk in well, many more will need revisiting if I am to sing them again. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to go on learning songs after 60, though you do have to recognise that your memory, at least your short term memory is not what it was and it will maybe take a little longer. Learning new songs is a damn good way of exercising your memory and keeping it active.

What I have found is that I find it harder to learn a tune than I used to. Sometimes I struggle to sing a tune, but can pick it out on an instrument. Being able to play it helps to settle the tune in my head.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 07:44 PM

I'm 73 and I don't own a note book.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 07:57 PM

Kendall-
Poverty or illiteracy?


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Janie
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 08:42 PM

Really helpful thread. The past few years, I have had huge problems memorizing lyrics - enough to cause me to worry about early signs of dementia. Just the day before this thread was started it occurred to me that pre-computer, I listened over and over again in the process of writing them out long hand.

Think I best go back to that.

Thanks All.

Janie


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Jaze
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 08:59 PM

If a song hits me , I play it over and over until I know it by heart. I'm not a singer or performer, but I know the words to hundreds of songs. My memory is not this good in other areas(but God I wish it was)


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Beer
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 12:07 AM

You know, the worst thing I ever did, "When It Comes to Music", is write down the words to songs. I can play and sing all night if i have a case of beer and the voice holds out. But the songs have to be from the 20tees to the 80tees. After that it is all written down and I need the script in front of me. I blame it on the technology and my laziness.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 12:42 AM

Listen until I know the tune; then write the words longhand.
Then repeat, repeat, repeat, a verse at a time until I know it.

And I don't care how well you know it and can sing it in the privacy of your home, that first time in public can really make your sphincter pucker.
But once you've done it with the shit scared outta you, you don't forget it.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 12:51 AM

I know what I'm getting Kendall for his next birtday


Will you be needing a pen or a pencil with that?


Barry


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 12:52 AM

I just want to say, "Thanks" to all who contributed to this thread.
My hope was that it would become a useful and/or enlightening collection of ideas and practices from a whole lot of folks who are out there "doing it;" thereby, offering up some suggestions for those who are looking to perform, or confirming the actions of some
others. Thanks a bunch. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 08:40 AM

Said Seamus:But once you've done it with the shit scared outta you, you don't forget it.

Isn't that the truth!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 09:11 AM

First of all - ask not what the tradition can do for you - rather, ask what can I do for the tradition?

Secondly, ask yourself, is this song really worthy to join that great pantheon of light   - that is.......folksong?

Thirdly, am I equal to this task of being one of the disemminators of this art? Will my name be read out amongst the other Gods of the folk traditon - will I tread the shores of that great Valhalla? Will future generations speak my name in hushed tones of reverence?


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 09:45 AM

weelittle. . .

if only "the great" sing folksongs - are they really folksong?

Doesn't the tradition change with the times? or rather can be divided into segments spanning time ranges? (Look at "traditional dress" of various nations - radically different during different time spans.)

And won't a song that remains popular and is sung by 'the common person' become a folk song?


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Cluin
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 10:04 AM

I've gotta "live" with a song for a while to see whether it suits me or not. Or I suit it, morelike. Which usually means that I change it, either a little bit or a lot, to make it my own.

Never was interested in being in a carbon copy cover band.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 01:05 PM

There are some songs that I have deliberately set out to learn - used the methods outlined in this thread - wrote/printed out the words and the tune, learned them a verse at a time until I've got the whole thing, etc.

But those tend to be the ones that slip out of memory again. The songs I just "absorb" by listening to repeatedly (and never see written down) are the ones that stick forever: many of them I never particularly wanted to learn in the first place, but just acquired them accidentally!

Songs are like cats - they decide to live with you, not the other way round.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Fidjit
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 01:47 PM

The cd stays in the car and I sing along.
Take down the words, then write them out long hand at intervals several times until I can do it without cheating. Then and only then they go into the computer to be printed out.
Sing the song as I fall asleep in bed.

Some are easier than others.

Chas


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 03:06 PM

Though I'm a little more of an "auditory processor" than a "visual" one, integrating the two is the fastest and surest way for me to learn anything verbal, so that applies to song lyrics.
Just learning to sing or play music is different.

When I can hear and read - and then recite/sing and read - at the same time, I can usually memorize a song pretty quickly.   'Writing' the lyrics out myself does help, but personally I don't find that doing it longhand or printing works any better than typing it does. (The advantage to typing - especially in a large, easy-to-read font - over hand printing or handwriting is that it lets me read a clear, unambiguous copy as I'm reproducing the lyrics.

For me, handwriting or hand printing is slow and tedious enough (if I want the page to approximate neatness and legibility) that my attention is on the individual letters or words.
I can touch type well enough that I can read a lyric sheet (1 stage of learning) while I commit each separate line to memory (stage 2) long enough to type it onto the page. Then I can "take in" each newly typed line or verse (stage 3). If I do this while singing along, it makes the process even faster and longer-lasting.

For learning to play songs on guitar, lyric-chord sheets help a lot, but my process is much more auditory.   That's probably because I don't process guitar tab sheets rapidly or 'translate" piano-type sheet music readily into where my fingers are going to go on a guitar. For singing, my learning style is heavily auditory, although I can sight read vocal music pretty well.   The best method is to hear a song first, sing along with it, and maybe have (for a while) the melody written out in "the dots" as a prompter if the tune is not immediately "catchy" or predictable.

I know we often debate on "books" or lyric sheets as help or hindrance, but I do find that they can help me learn a song fast AND CORRECTLY if I use them the way I use choir sheet music.   (If you're into "the folk process," you may think it's cool if melodies and lyrics "evolve" as a song is done over and over. But sometimes it's hard to improve on a melody or lyric in its original form. At least I don't like the tune or lyrics to a good song to deteriorate because of memory lapses.)

You can perform a song over and over, to perfection, in your living room and then "draw a blank" here and there when you first perform it before an audience.   That's why I like to have the lyrics and chords in front of me, readable at a glance, the first few times I perform a song. I often find I don't need to refer to my "cheat sheet," but it does "prompt" me with the correct lyric or chord if I draw a momentary blank, and that helps me commit the song to long-term memory the fastest.

"Errorless learning" is what I'm striving for. The hardest songs for me to remember and perform without error are MY OWN songs, at least if those songs have gone through quite a few "versions" before I arrived at the final song.    All those earlier or alternative lyric lines, chord progressions, etc., are there in my head and they interfere with recall of the song in its final form.    Similarly, every time I sing someone else's song from memory and "screw up" a portion of it and have to improvise, I will have that extraneous stuff interfering the next time I try to do the song.

This is just what works for me. Your processes may vary.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Genie
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 03:09 PM

Just realized my cookie got eaten or something.
That last "Guest" post was mine.

Genie


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 03:58 PM

Hope I'm not repeating something already said but when I'm learning a new song I learn the last verse first and work my way back through to the beginning. That way I find I'm not so likely to forget what happens. All I have to do then is remember what the first line is,
duhhhhhhhh!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 21 Sep 07 - 06:01 AM

I would guess that part of "the folk process" of songs changing over time depends on mis-heard and mis-remembered words - working from written records would tend to reduce the mis-remembering at least. A good thing or a bad thing?

R


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 21 Sep 07 - 08:30 AM

There are different ways of remembering.

Not a professional here, by the way, just a shower singer, and that's if no one pounds on the wall.

But I've noticed I pick up pop songs without even thinking, and I'm singing fluently along "They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no" when I didn't think I knew such a song.

And yesterday I had to give someone a long telephone number that I dial every couple of days. Couldn't remember it, so I turned and picked up his phone and reached for the buttons, and instantly recited it.

I've always known the Irish national anthem in English, but people stare if you sing it in English - it's always sung in Irish. So a couple of years ago I learned the Irish version.

I was reading Don't Shoot the Dog at the time - Karen Pryor's entertaining book about how to train animals, and people.

She recommends learning songs backwards: learn the last two lines, then add the second-last two so you're learning four lines, then the next two back so you're learning six lines.

The idea is that you're always going towards your strength when you come to sing it.

Worked like a dream; when everyone else launches confidently into the first lines, but wavers halfway through, I still know it from end to beginning, as it were.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Bert
Date: 21 Sep 07 - 02:36 PM

I usually sing it a couple of times looking at the words or singing along with the CD. Then I'll try to sing it a few times without help. Then I'll go back to the original and fill in the gaps.

A couple of reiterations of this usually gets it for me.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: ossonflags
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 10:17 PM

Trying not to be to dogmatic here. but most of these suggestions are about LEARNING the song as opposed to READING the song - the original point I was making and I make no apologies for that.

Comments such as "the counsel of perfection from one whose memory never lets him down" and memory loss of the over sixties could be construed as a little dogmatic and part of some ill informed suppositions,; or maybe I am being a little cynical here?

What comes across is not one size fits all. We all find our own way of learning songs and realise how difficult that process can be no matter what age you are.

learning the words is only the first stage in doing justice to the song and the person who wrote it.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 12:43 AM

"...Poverty or illiteracy? " Dick G

Great retort, Dick! Notice that Kendall hasn't answered? Prepare for a zinger...


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Fantum
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 08:34 AM

Play it through a few times

Is it worth learning?
Do I like it?
Is the tune strong enough?

Assuming you have sensible answers to the questions

Transcribe the words longhand
Try to shortcut the writing stuff by using the Mudcat
(That failed last time and I had to transcribe and submit to the Mudcat)
Learn it one verse at a time
With luck the constant playing will have given you some of it
When you learn verse 2 put it with 1 and get a part song
and so on
Get half way then ignore the first section for a while and learn the last half (otherwise you practice the front end of songs far more than the back end)

Now what is it like
Can you sing it
If its not right can you make it right
If the answer to that is no then dump it you are never going to be comfortable with it.
Be honest with yourself

If its still good then practice till you really know it
You can start anywhere and still get to the end
There are no stops for thinking

You will not need a crib sheet for the words when you sing it
The words will come because its easier to get them right than wrong
Build up your courage and perform it.
Crib sheets are something between you and the audience so they may make you feel comfortable if it helps use them.

One thing not mentioned is there are times when your capacity to learn is at a maximum. For me thats the first few hours in the morning yours may be different.
Its worth finding out your best time it means you learn faster

Age has not proved a problem to learning or remembering but I do try to practice before I perform in public Insurance against stupidity

Fantum


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 08:47 AM

I haven't read the whole thread, but I will just answer the question. It begins with me listening to the song enough to understand the structure of it. Then I will memorize the first verse or so and chorus. Then I will find the key I want to sing it in, and just learn the chords and how I am going to play it. I will just sing the verse I already have memorized to do this so I am not trying to do too much at once. Once I have the musical piece down, so that it just comes natural, then I learn the rest of the verses. Works for me, and allows the natural sequence of events to come through in the lyrics.

Mick


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